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More Than an Award: The Butterfly Mark is a Commitment to Sustainability

Posted by Catherine Claus on


From the day I first dreamed of starting Thesis Gems and Jewelry, care for the people and places that give us gems and precious metals was forefront in my mind. This impulse came from seeing the shortage of truly ethically-sourced jewelry for a conscious consumer.

There is a myriad of brands that claim to use fair labor practices and support ecological conservation, but I had nothing to go on but their word; and this would often ring hollow. I seek documentation from sources in order to gain transparency into their processes. Positive Luxury helps in this effort to “place social and environmental responsibility at the heart” of the industry.

With their Butterfly Mark, Positive Luxury recognizes companies making a positive social and environmental impact, so you and I can begin to identify which brands to trust.

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Thesis Earns its Wings!

I am beyond proud to share that Thesis Gems and Jewelry has been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury for our core commitment to sustainability. This means you’ll now see the trademark butterfly on our website — an interactive “trust mark” you can click on for a more in-depth look at how we practice.

The Butterfly Mark is awarded through an  application process in which a company is evaluated across governance, a social and environmental framework, philanthropy, and innovation. To earn our wings, we had to show that we go beyond the minimum standards in sustainability and strive for best practices from source to sale.

What’s most meaningful to me about the Butterfly Mark is that it makes my dream a bit more concrete. I can’t wait to continue evolving from this foundation of ethical integrity.

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Heirlooms to Trust

Earning the trust mark is only the beginning. Thesis is now part of a community that encourages one another to continually improve. The award is actually a symbol of my commitment to a stringent code of conduct — a code that I ask my sources to contractually uphold. 

Our Supplier Code of Conduct helps to protect the rights of children and workers, ensures safe working conditions and living wages, and protects animals and the environment from destructive practices. The standards are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other internationally recognized workers’ rights and development principles. We are in the process of asking all of our sources to sign this document.

The Butterfly Mark has the potential, like the flap of wings, to create a powerful ripple effect throughout the gemstone and jewelry market. The seal will hopefully give thoughtful collectors confidence that their heirlooms are part of a greater movement to support communities and heal ecosystems across the globe. 

A Commitment to Future Generations

Gro Harlem Brundtland, considered a mother of sustainable development, said true sustainability “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Thesis truly believe that our profit should not be out of proportion to those of the people and land from which our gems came from.

This definition guides our decisions and plainly expresses why we do what we do. At Thesis, we are actively fighting for future generations by upholding these four values — or four wings, if you will.

Value 1: The greater good comes first.

I think daily about ways to support ecological conservation and fair labor, and I am always building relationships with like-minded organizations. We take social responsibility very seriously and adhere to the universal sustainability principles of the UN Global Compact. We are members of Ethical Metalsmiths and 1% for the Planet, and our sources use sustainable mining practices and proudly contribute to PACT and The Gem Legacy.

Value 2: People and the environment are worth more than diamonds and gold.

Mining precious metals and gemstones can be incredibly harmful to workers and the environment. We carefully ensure our diamonds and gold were mined in a way that minimizes the environmental footprint while maximizing social impact. We use 100% SCS certified recycled gold from Hoover and Strong. And we source post-consumer vintage or antique diamonds, Canadamark or other traceable and artisanal diamonds. We favor vintage colored gem stones as well, and use a mine-to-market approach that identifies as best as possible exactly where our colored gems are coming from, and where they are cut and polished so that we can be fully aware of operations, each step of the way.

Value 3: Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

That old slogan means do everything you can eliminate waste and reduce your impact on the environment. We strive to cut down on waste everywhere, for example, only using marketing materials and paper packaging certified by sustainable forest management organizations. 

To further promote sustainable practices, we use grass-fed leather for our heirloom pouches. They are tanned with vegetable dyes, and made in San Francisco.

Value 4: Jewelry shouldn’t finance wars.

We want to represent more than a slogan of conflict-free. Thesis strives to give you traceability which is the ultimate measure by which we can know who benefits in the industry and by how much.

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Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Positive Luxury and the Butterfly Mark are helping to identify brands to trust at the intersection of luxury and sustainability. I can’t imagine a more fitting award for Thesis Gems and Jewelry. When you wear one of our pieces, you are displaying your personal commitment to sustainability. Beside your sleeve; why not wear your heart around your neck, or dangling from your ears?

If you want to find an heirloom that expresses your values, and honors craftsmanship and quality, please get in touch today